A Message From Bishop Felix Orji, OSB
Supervisory Bishop of ADOTT.
September 15, 2021
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16 “The Lord knows those who are his”, and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:18-19). The Lord wants us to live lives characterized by obedience and holiness in the way we relate to him, to others, and in the way we practice ministry and carry out His evangelistic mission in the world. That is His expectation of us.
The apostle John reminds us in his epistle that, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor
is the one who does not love his brother.”(1 John 3:9-10). God’s word is crystal clear on what a Christian should look like in matters of morality.
Sadly the Christian church has gone off the rails over the centuries in regard to godliness of life. In his book ‘Articles in the Fatherland” 19th century, Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard complained vehemently about the rapidly growing worldly version of Christianity that had become popular and quite acceptable in his time. He said, “Verily there is that which is more contrary to Christianity, and to the very nature of Christianity, than any heresy, any schism, more contrary than all heresies and schisms combined, and that is to play Christianity”. What did
he mean by the expression “to play Christianity”? Here is Kierkegaard’s answer, “In ‘Christendom’ we are all Christians.
In this meaningless sense they have got all men made into Christians, and got everything Christian—and then (under the name of Christianity) we live a life of paganism. They have not ventured defiantly, openly, to revolt against Christianity; no, hypocritically and knavishly they have done away with it by falsifying the definition of what it is to be a Christian. It is of this I say that it is playing Christianity, taking God for a fool.” It’s what Paul meant when he said “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” So according to Kierkegaard, “to play Christianity” is to claim to be Christian and yet live like a pagan and a worldling. I wonder what he would say if he saw the flagrant and outrageous display of sin in the 21st century church.
The Lord does not want us to play Christianity. Rather he wants us to practice true Christianity. That is the Christianity that not only calls us to faith in Christ but one that embraces holiness of life. We must live a holy life.
Holiness is necessary for effectiveness in Ministry We should live a holy life because holiness or the lack thereof affects the effectiveness of our message and ministry.
Bishop J. C. Ryle tells the story of a trader “I cannot see the use of so much religion”, said an unbelieving trader; ” I observe that some of my customers are always talking about the gospel, and faith, and election, and the blessed promises and so forth; and yet these very people think nothing of cheating me of pence and half-pence, when they have an opportunity.
Now, if religious persons can do such things, I do not see what good there is in religion.” As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it: “When the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first” You will ruin your church planting effort by your lifestyle despite your fervor and efforts. Lying, sexual sin, appearances of evil, stealing, Bad character will bring dishonor to God.
What does it mean to live holy and obedient lives in practical terms?
1. First, holiness is conformity to the moral character and purposes of God through obedience to his Word through the power of the Holy Spirit . The English Puritans used two words to describe our obedience.
a. The first word is Mortification: This is the negative aspect of holiness. It means to put to death, avoid, separate yourself from sins and things that will lead you to sin. It is “putting off” of sinful habits and it’s varying manifestations. Sin manifests itself in desires, motivations, attitudes, actions, and in-actions.
“5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,
passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and
obscene talk from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the
image of its creator.
11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian,
Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
(Ephesians 4:17-5:7; Galatians 5:19-21; 2Corinthians 6: 14-7: 1).
The Lord wants you to abandon sin including drunkenness, gossip, racism, abusive behavior, hypocrisy, unforgiveness, pride, pornography, adultery, fornication, homosexual sin, etc.
b. The second word is vivification: This is the positive aspect of holiness. It means to awaken, put on, to practice the virtues of the faith. It is to clothe ourselves with holy and godly habits (Colossians 3:12-17; 2Peter 1:3-13). Dr. J. I Packer wrote, “this positive side of holiness is maintaining of loyalty to God and the living of a life which shows forth to others qualities of faithfulness, gentleness, goodwill, kindness forbearance, and uprightness on the model of God’s own display of these qualities in his gracious dealings with us”. In Colossians 3:12-17, the apostle Paul writes, “12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” **Galatians 5:22-24: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:1-6, 24). –Holiness is both an inward and external way of being and living.
2. Second, holiness involves doing good works: practical good for the benefit of others in private and in public. Helping people in need, alien, underprivileged. As John Wesley said there is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian. We need to reach out to others. (Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 11:27-30; James 2:14-17; 1Peter 2:12,15; 1John 3:16-19).
3. Third, holiness is a daily offering/consecration of oneself to God. You say to God I’m here to do your bidding. Use me Lord! Daily surrender, oblation, laying your plans on the altar of God and opening all the doors for him to come in and do what he wants. Richard Baxter said it well, holiness is, “Nothing else but the habitual and
predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking Him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh.”
Here is a summary of how Bishop J. C. Ryle, first Anglican Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool, described a holy person:
“A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
-A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment
-A holy man will follow after meekness, long-suffering, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much, and be slow to talk of standing on his rights.
– A holy man will follow after temperance and self-denial. He will labour to mortify the desires of his body-to crucify his flesh with his affections and lusts-to curb his passions-to restrain his carnal inclinations, lest at any time they break loose.
– A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness. He will endeavour to observe the golden rule of doing as he would have men do to him, and speaking as he would have men speak to him. He will be full of affection towards his brethren-towards their bodies, their property, their characters, their feelings, their souls
-A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be content with doing no harm-he will try to do good
– A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it.
-A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it.
-A holy man will follow after the fear of God
– A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness of mind, to esteem all others better than himself
-A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life.
– A holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness. He will endeavour to set his affections entirely on things above, and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand.
-Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God.”
I’m glad that was written by an Anglican Bishop!
My brothers and sisters, I call you all to pursue and strive for peace and holiness without which no one will see the Lord(Hebrews 12:14). May the Lord grant us the grace to do so.
Grace be with you all.
The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, OSB, ECCK, DD, BA.Ed, M.Ed, DipCS, M.Div, D.Min.
Supervisory Bishop of ADOTT
Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM.
Holy Trinity Cathedral Church
8402 Howell Sugarland Road
Houston, Texas, 77083
At such a Time as this, let’s continue to Trust in God and do the Right
Trinity Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God for His faithfulness, for bringing us to another September and for working out His purpose in our Diocese. Despite the contemporary global challenges, many of our churches continue to experience exponential growth, new church plants are springing up in the Diocese – across Canada and the United States.
Our Mission in Japan continues to blossom. All these can only be attributed to the finger of God, His goodness and faithfulness to us. May His name be praised forever. Amen.
Acknowledging God’s goodness does not in any way undermine the challenges faced by many of us in our personal and corporate lives.
The Jews were faced with death sentence. Haman made determination to wipe out the history of the people of God. All arrangements were in place to actualise this evil dream. The situation required divine intervention. Fear gripped the hearts of the weak and the powerful. Sackcloth and sorrow overwhelmed all the Jews in the area. How shall we be delivered from the decree and manipulation of Haman? Is there hope for us again? Our generation is about to be wiped out with this wicked and ungodly edict? Mordecai, Esther’s adoptive father, mentor, confidant and cheerleader reached out to Esther to intervene; she was also afraid and recognised her limitation. It was natural for her to consider how difficult the situation was.
Mordecai reminded her of the purpose of God and the reason God placed her in that position. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther4:14).
The reminder of this fact changed her story and mindset. She came to her senses – God brought me to this position for a purpose! God cannot make mistakes. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last and the beginning and the end.
God has brought many of us to where we are today for a purpose. We are not residing in North America and in Japan at this time by accident. We cannot afford to be silent. The urgency of the gospel of redemption compels us to rise up and speak the Word of life. We cannot afford to be silent, our world urgently needs this gospel of peace. The gospel of deliverance is needed urgently in North.
America and in Japan. The enemy has signed the edict to destroy the Western world with liberalism, false and prosperity gospel and end-time feel-good messages with no substance and a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Tim 3:5). Only the gospel of peace and salvation in Christ Jesus can bring redemption. We have the message of redemption.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15 ESV).
God is depending on you. We need the courage to stand. Mordecai stood for his belief without compromise, he encouraged others like Esther to stand for same and “these actions prove that Mordecai believed that being true to his beliefs were more important than following in line with the kingdom leadership and being disappointed in himself afterwards” (Blair Parke, 5 things about Mordecai we can all relate to). You are important to God in His agenda of Redemption in North America and in Japan. We are called to take a stand for this life-changing message. “If this gospel is worth living for, then it is worth dying for” (++Henry Ndukuba). Are you available? Are you ready to take a stand?.
Another important fact to note is that you are important to God but you are not indispensable to God. We cannot hold God to ransom. Mordecai reminded Esther, if you fail to act “relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” It is only a privilege that God has chosen to use us – mere mortals. We must be available for Him or he can raise help or substitute elsewhere. Remember Jesus’ declaration in John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” BE AVAILABLE, HE CHOSE YOU.
Not only did Mordecai remind her not to be silent and that God cannot be held to ransom in the fulfilment of His agenda, he also reminded her “you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”
You are not an accident in North America especially within the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT). Whatever we are going through now is not an accident. God has positioned us where we are for a purpose. The understanding of this fact is important for our breakthrough. You are a creature of God that is wonderfully
and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).
In this bi-monthly brief, I am drawing the attention of all our friends and every member of this great Diocese to this foundational realization and truth, God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) and He has positioned you, your family, your parish, your archdeaconry and the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) in North America and Japan for a purpose. That purpose must be fulfilled in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I urge you all to remain focused, don’t be silent in your neighbourhood, respond to the call of God and do what He has called you to do. May God give us grace to align with His purpose for our lives in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Please sing with me Norman MacLeod’s Song – “Courage, brother! Do not stumble” (1857):
1. Courage, brother! do not stumble,
Though your path be dark as night;
There’s a star to guide the humble:
Trust in God and do the right.
Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight;
Foot it bravely; strong or weary,
Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God, and do the right.
2. Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light!
Whether losing, whether winning,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Some will hate you, some will love you,
Some will flatter, some will slight;
Heed them not, and look above you:
Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God, and do the right.
3. Simple rule and safest guiding,
Inward peace, and inward might,
Star upon our path abiding,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Courage, sister! do not stumble,
Though your path be dark as night;
There’s a star to guide the humble:
Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God, and do the right.
Let me conclude this piece with the appreciation of God’s faithfulness manifested in the Diocese by referring to specific developments, all of which are worthy of our praise to Him within the Diocese.
Church Anniversary Celebration:
We thank God for the rebirth of Christ Anglican Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in a powerful way – A Church in extinction came back to live. Alleluia! The Church celebrated her 1st year anniversary under the leadership of Postulant Seyi Dairo this month. It was a great celebration with concrete outreach to the
Mount Sinai Anglican Church, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and Anglican Church of the Trinity, McKinney, Texas, USA under the leadership of Rev Kunle Odumosu and Rev Canon Bayo Adenekan respectively also celebrated the 4th year anniversary of their Churches with great and impactful programs in the month on August. May these churches continue to grow daily in Jesus name.
Confirmation Services across the Diocese:
We give thanks to God for success of the confirmation services and licensing of lay minister/Evangelist at Mount Olives Anglican Church, St John, NFLD, Canada by Rt. Rev Dr Olukayode Adebogun and confirmation service at Anglican Church of the Trinity, McKinney, Texas by Rt. Rev Dr Martyn Anagbogu.
Similar service also took place at All Saints Anglican Church, Hyattsville, MD by The Rt. Rev. Dr. Augustine Unuigbe along with the admission of candidates into Mothers’ Union and formal re-inauguration of Anglican Men’s fellowship of the church.
We thank God for the ministry of The Rev Dr Polycarp Erivwo, the pioneer priest of Mount Olives Anglican Church, St Johns , NewFoundland, Canada. He has now relocated to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Ontario, Canada to begin a new mission and Church plant. The baton of leadership of the Church has been handed over to Rev Canon Fredrick Akanne as the new priest in charge of Mount Olives Anglican Church, St Johns, NFLD. May the Lord prosper the ministry of these brothers in their various locations in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Beginning of new ministry (Installation as Rectors):
We also give thanks to God for the beginning of new ministry for Revd Canon Tunde Shabi as the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Hyattsville, Maryland, USA and The Rev Obinna Ohanugo as the Rector of Anglican Church of Calvary, Philadelphia. With the authorization of the ADOTT supervisory Bishop, The Rt. Rev Dr Felix Orji, the service of installation was conducted by Rt. Rev Dr Augustine Unuigbe. Please pray for the new rectors, their wives and the leadership team.
Milestone marriage/wedding celebration:
We rejoice with Rev Canon Dr David & Mrs Stella Olungwe and Venerable Prof Joseph & Mrs Uche Omoekwe who celebrated their 38th and 42nd wedding anniversary this month respectively. May the wine of the relationships never run dry in Jesus’ name.
2021 CON All clergy conference:
As expected, the Clergy of Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) participated virtually in the 2021 Clergy conference. May all the teachings and prayers bring fruits into eternity in Jesus’ name.
Cornerstone Quarterly Marriage Koinonia
This was held Saturday August 28th, 2021 within the Canada Cornerstone Archdeaconry with the theme “Overcoming Red flags in the home”. Special appreciations to all guest ministers (Rev Dr Gbenga & Evangelist Mrs Olufemi Ola & Dr Adebayo & Mrs Titi Kolade) and God’s blessings on all participants.
Canada Regional Revival meeting:
Monthly Canada wide Revival meeting continues via zoom. Special thanks to all our church fathers who have ministered monthly at the event. The program has been a blessing to the Canadian Churches and brings us together monthly at the feet of Christ. May God’s name continually be praised as we gather every first
Saturday of the month in Jesus’ name. Amen.
New Church plants/Growth in the Diocese
All our regions continue to flourish with new church plants and growth especially as the pandemic lockdown continues to ease. Many of our churches have returned to their places of worship while others are trying to return. In all and despite the pandemic challenges our regions continue to grow.
Good news from our Mission in Japan
We are grateful to God for the progress recorded in our Mission in Japan. Notwithstanding the increasing rate of the pandemic in Japan, the Church of Christ for All Nations in Tokyo, Japan is experiencing membership growth. The Church has moved to a renovated and befitting property occupying two floors comprising an auditorium, a multi-purpose hall (for children service and other use), a room to accommodate a priest, Rector’s office and other facilities. May the Lord continue to prosper the mission in Jesus’ name. Special thanks to Ven Dr. Tiwatope & Mrs Oluwashola Elias-Fatile, the Rector of our Church in Tokyo for their commitment and dedication to the mission.
Lay Minister/Evangelist Handbook:
We thank God for the success and launching of the first handbook for the training of Lay ministers and evangelists within our Diocese. We thank the 5 regional chaplains of the lay minister and Evangelists directorate of the Diocese and all who contributed to the success of the handbook and the launch. May the Lord bless you all. We remain grateful for the effort put into this publication which will be very useful for our lay ministers and evangelists. This is the first edition and subject to improvement as we grow as a diocese.
2021 Annual Youth Convention and change of Guard
The annual convention of the Anglican Trinity Youth Movement (AYTM), the youth ministry of our Diocese took place on August 6th and 7th with the theme “Finding Purpose and Fulfilling Destiny (Jeremiah 1:5).” The main speaker and theme expositor was The Rt. Revd. Adegoke Agara (Diocesan Bishop, Idoani Diocese). The highlights of the program include revival meetings led by Rev. Canon Silas Odimegwu, customised bible study, prayer time, fellowship time, group discussions, seminars by erudite scholars and professionals on various topics, relationship and career building.
The youth also elected a new Diocesan Youth President, Mrs. Deborah Marcus (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) to take over from the pioneer president, Mrs. Funke Akindele (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA). We are grateful to God for the leadership of Sister Funke since the inception of this group in the Diocese. Along with her team, she has laid a firm foundation for the youth ministry of the Diocese. On behalf of the bishops, clergy and laity of this diocese, we express our profound gratitude to Sister Funke for her leadership and sacrifice. We congratulate the former Vice President, Mrs. Deborah Marcus, on her election as new President of the organization. May you prosper in this new assignment with your team in Jesus’ name.
We also thank the youth chaplains under the leadership of Venerable James Mwangi for the mentorship and coordination of the children, youth and young adult directorate. May God bless your ministries. Amen.
ADOTT @ 9 (Nine)
The 9th Year Anniversary of the Diocese was celebrated as a solemn day of prayers and fasting across the Diocese on Thursday August 19, 2021. This was followed with a Sunday Thanksgiving Service in all our churches in Canada and USA on August 22, 2021. The participation across the diocese was encouraging. To God be the glory.
Call to Prayer – Cornerstone and Good Samaritan Ministry and Directorate
This directorate geared towards the welfare of the Clergy and Laity across the Diocese also organised two-days prayers and fasting for God’s will to prevail in the selection of a new Diocesan for the Diocese. Members of the Diocese – Lay and Ordained participated actively in these two days prayer session. We thank the organisers, under the leadership of Venerable Prof. Clement Ojeh, for the success of the two-days prayers and fasting.
Partnership with Immanuel College of Theology
The partnership arrangement between ADOTT and Immanuel College of Theology (ICT), Ibadan, Oyo State, which started about 2 years ago witnessed the admission of the first set of ADOTT students to Immanuel College of Theology in 2021. We are grateful for the dedication and sacrificial efforts of The Rt. Revd. Dr. Adedokun Adewunmi, Retired Suffragan Bishop of ADOTT Region 3 and The Most Revd. Dr. Segun Okubadejo (Archbishop of Ibadan Province and Bishop of Ibadan North) who facilitated this relationship with the oldest Anglican Seminary in Nigeria. Weare also grateful to God for the partnership with the Immanuel College of Theology, Ibadan and thank the staff of ICT for the training of ordinands and clergy for ministry in the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity.
Finally, may the strength of God sustain us; may the power of God preserve us; may the hands of God protect us; may the way of God direct us; may the love of God go with us this day and forever. May the Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face shine on us and be gracious to us, the Lord turn his face toward us and give us peace now and forever. Amen.
Your Brother and Friend,
The Rt. Rev Olukayode Adebogun, PhD, FCSI, RCIC
Suffragan Bishop, ADOTT Region 1, Canada